Monthly Archives: February 2014

Love, the Earth and the greenest candle options (Part 2)

RESIZE2012 326 Thank you all for waiting patiently for Part 2 of this article to be written.    If you haven’t read Part 1, please do.  So, let’s continue the love post-Valentine’s Day and explore more important sustainable candle choices:

Choose Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Wax candles. Palm oil and palm wax have gotten a very bad environmental rap due to the  deforestation and the destruction of orangutan habitats that most palm tree farming cause.  Fortunately, more sustainable ways of cultivating palm oil exist. Aloha Bay candles are made with Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Wax.

Choose candles made from beeswax. Beeswax candles are another excellent Earth-friendly choice, especially from a local source and/or  sustainable beekeepers.

Stop purchasing candles made from paraffin. The majority of candles sold in the United States, unless purchased from a holistic market place and specifically labeled as made from beeswax, soy and/or palm wax,  are made from paraffin.  What is paraffin?  It’s a petroleum byproduct.  Burning it releases neurotoxins and carcinogens into the air such as toluene, benzene and hydrocarbons.  Yikes!  Burning paraffin candles also releases a superfine soot into the air which can cause irritation and damage in the lungs.  Beeswax, soy wax and palm wax candles, on the other hand, burn much more cleanly. Another downside to paraffin candles is that they are a byproduct of the very  polluting industry of fossil fuels.  Not only is serious damage done to air and waterways by oil refineries, but they also pose health risks, such as respiratory issues and cancer, to the people who live near them.

Choose eco-friendly packaging and other candle materials. Is the wick lead-free (it should be since lead wicks were outlawed in the U.S. in 2003) and made of cotton or hemp?  Is the candle naturally dyed or dye-free (you may have to contact the candle  company to find out)?  How is the candle packaged?  Does it come in a box made of post-consumer recycled content?  Does the candle sit in glass or is it a pillar candle? I like the idea of candles that come in jars (where the neck is narrower than the base) so they can be recycled or reused like you would a mason jar.  NYC Sanitation does not accept non-jar shaped glass for recycling.   I also love pillar candles and minimally packaged candles that use less resources.  I like to put my pillar candles in old candle votive containers. I’ve also seen candles nestled sweetly in glass that used to be a wine bottle.  I love creative repurposing! There are so many fun, creative green options out there to play with.  Enjoy the exploration!

Some eco-friendly, clean burning candles:

There are so many other sustainable candle makers.  I trust you will poke around on the following websites and do you own fun research:

Also, if you want to know more info about the risks of using fragrance in candles and cosmetics, read these articles:

 

Love, the Earth and the greenest candle options (Part 1)

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Today, on Valentine’s Day, I cannot help but reflect on love– the love of our planet and we the people that inhabit it. What a perfect time to resume this candle blog post that I started weeks ago.

When you light a candle, you ignite an intention: I want to create  a romantic ambiance, I want to create a peaceful atmosphere, I want to meditate, etc.   Digging more deeply, I cannot think of a better way to express intention and love than choosing products that are good for people and the Earth.  Products, such as candles, can effect us personally (self love).  They can effect our loved ones (friends and family love).  They can effect the people involved directly in their production  or  the people living near the site of where the raw materials are created or extracted (humanity love).  They can also effect the surrounding eco-systems and beyond (planet love).

So, in what ways can you create some interconnected love with your green, eco-friendly candle choices?

Choose candles scented with essential oils

When you smell a scented candle, its scent can effect you in many ways.  On one level, there is the pleasure of scent preferences enjoyed.  And then, there is the aromatherapy– this is the magic of pure plant essential oils.  What a gift mother nature has given us.  Just by smelling the bounty of her plants, your brain and nervous system are positively benefited through  feelings of  relaxation and upliftment.  What a great way to give yourself some love or share the with others!

But what happens when you have a candle scented with “fragrance” or “fragrance oils”.  The word fragrance includes a includes a whole host of chemicals you, your loved ones and the people involved in the production of these candles should not be breathing in, such as phthalates.  Phthalates are endocrine system disruptors, among other unsavory ill effects.

Even if you get a candle from the healthfood store, I would still check to see if they are made with essential oils or fragrances.  I have seen the term, “natural fragrance oil”.   Is there such thing as  natural, non-toxic fragrance that is not an essential oil?  Maybe. I have yet to do more research on this, but here is a preliminary teaser:    http://www.bathbodysupply.com/category-s/34.htm .

If you find a company that you feel may be wholesome and has the words “natural fragrance” listed as an ingredient,  ask them for the complete list of ingredients that make up their “fragrance” .  You can research those ingredients online to see if they are safe to use.

Choose organic and/or non-GMO soy candle wax and essential oils

I am holding a soy candle made by Sunbeam Candles.  It is a tall, white, unscented pillar candle with an 80 hour burn time.  Having purchased it a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I have enjoyed its  glowing warm light many times as we meditate, share intimacy or wind down for bed.  The truly nifty thing about this lovely candle is that the soy it contains is non-GMO.

Why buy non-GMO and/or organic?  My heart tells me for the love of all life, to support agricultural practices in harmony with the intelligent, life-sustaining system of nature.  In nature there is biodiversity; each organism supports the whole of the ecosystem.  One organism’s waste is another’s food .  This flow and order that has evolved over millions of years to perpetuate the thriving of life.  Let’s be part of it.

To get, briefly, more technical (I will be writing more on this later), over 80% of GMO crops are modified to help them withstand heavy-duty sprayings of herbicides.  This creates herbicide-resistant “super weeds” and  “super bugs” that are very hard to kill.  These type of farming practices are not in harmony with nature.  These chemicals that kill weeds and pests are also harmful to humans and the eco system.  Not to mention, this type of farming also includes the use of  of artificial fertilizers.  Artificial fertilizers, create nitrogen run-off that flows into streams, rivers and ultimately coastal waters, causing excessive algae bloom and decomposition which depletes oxygen from the oceans and ends up killing the marine life.

Stayed tuned for Part Two of this article, arriving in the next day or so!  More valuable, important information regarding  people and earth- loving candle choices will be explored.   Happy Valentine’s day from my heart to yours!

The One Thing Even More Important for Your Diet Than Healthy Food

Well being starts from within.

Well being starts from within.

Have you ever been fatigued, under the weather or in less than optimal health, for an extended time, in spite of a very healthy diet?

A while back, I had this on and off slight sinus infection or slight scratchiness of the throat for several months.   At the time, I was on a protocol for a non-related health issue, taking heavy duty immune boosters and antioxidants.  I had also increased my vegetable intake,  reduced my sugar intake and was eating very little gluten and dairy (I was supposed to have none, but I cheated occasionally.) As a health foodie,  in general, I eat predominately organic and unrefined foods. So, experiencing frequent under-the-weatherness did not make sense to me.

There were times that I thought I wasn’t eating perfectly enough.  I, also, thought that I might have a hidden food or environmental allergy/sensitivity.  I felt like the proverbial mule chasing the dangling carrot– if only I had more self-control and ate more purely.  If could limit my dark chocolate intake to twice a week and have gluten/dairy once or twice a month, then all would be well.  But something in that pursuit of perfection didn’t feel right to me.  It felt kind of like an admonishing authority figure taking up real estate in my head or like a skipping record playing  the same message over and over again, but not being effective.  It didn’t feel flowing and expansive.  I realized my focus was in the wrong direction in helping myself.

There have been times in my life where I have eaten more gluten, dairy and sweet treats while taking no immune supportive and antioxidant supplements.  And guess what?  I rarely got slightly under-the-weather or full-blown sick.  Connecting the dots and feeling into the natural intuitive gifts we all possess, I realized that my state of being was the prime cause of of my reoccurring experience of feeling “slightly” not well.

Our state of being (thoughts, emotions and, ultimately, the way we perceive reality) is something we eat 24-7.  Let’s face it, everything  is energy.  This is a scientific fact proven by quantum physics. So, when we are experiencing chronic underlying tension in our lives, that is a particular energy effecting our denser energy– i.e. our physical body.  I firmly believe one could eat the most PERFECT diet (whatever that means to you) and if your general state of being is not supportive and nurturing to you,  your body will be negatively impacted.  To me, while a healthy diet is very powerful, a healthy state of being is even more powerful.

That said, once I realized that perfecting my diet was not going to solve my sinus/throat issues, I started to look within.  I started to realize that I was experiencing a chronic, subtle tension in my life: not feeling nurtured by my romantic relationship.  Not sure how to deal with it, I focused on my life-purpose goals instead.  I didn’t want to say the same things over and over again to my beloved partner like a broken record to no avail, so I unsuccessfully tried to clear my frustrations on my own.  Eventually,  I noticed I wasn’t being honest with myself or my partner.  Being honest was scary and might have meant some big changes I felt unprepared for. Looking back, it’s no wonder that my physical symptoms were showing up in the mouth area, our primary means of expression.

I started to realize our lives are holistic.  If one part of our life isn’t flowing well, it effects the whole.  It was totally silly of me to explore following my heart in my career life while not dealing with my heart in my intimate life, as if they were separate entities. So, one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore and with mutually prayerful intentions, my partner and I candidly shared our needs, frustrations and what each of us wanted to create romantically, like really shooting for the stars, rather than just settling for “good enough” or tolerable.  As I shared from my most heart-felt authentic place and listened deeply,  I felt intense sensations in my upper chest and also where my neck connects with my jaw.  These sensations were sharp, like electrical currents that suddenly fired. I also started to feel a big pressure on the roof of my mouth.  Although a bit painful, all of these sensations felt positive, like a heavy weight was finally being released.  Ahhhhhh. I started to feel physically and emotionally better.

So, if your state of being can either nourish you like a healthy delicious meal or leave you feeling clogged, jittery and uncomfortable like eating a whole box of cookies in one sitting, how can you better take care of your state of being?  Do you take time to just be?  Do you meditate?  Do you give yourself time to digest and process the happenings in your life and to become present to what you truly feel? Do you take walks in the park or in nature?  Do you move and exercise your body in ways that feel good and free up the flow in your body? Are you able to express and explore your true feelings with both yourself and your loved ones? Are you a good listener?   Do you love the work you do? If not, are you committed to exploring what a nurturing work life would look like for you and to take steps to create that?

As you take time to nurture you state of being, be freely expressed, and listen more deeply to yourself and others, your thoughts, emotions and perceptions of reality will naturally change, thus making a healthy change to your energetic diet.  So, tune into yourself right now.  What, in this moment, would be the most yummy and supportive for you?  Maybe, you’re stressed and you just need to scream into your pillow.  Maybe, you just want to take some deep,  heart-felt  breaths.  Or maybe, you have an overwhelming urge to take a walk and gaze at the moon.  Trust whatever comes to you and enjoy a healthier life lived more fully, moment to moment.